On Friday 22nd May 2020, at 4.45pm my adorable cat Treacle died. He was 16.
To say I was heartbroken was an understatement. I cried for two days leading up to that afternoon, as I could tell the end was coming, and about 2 days after.
He had been part of my life since May 2004, when a good friend of mine Rachel, took me to pick him up from a council estate near Sheffield. He was 8 weeks old and his owners couldn’t keep the whole litter, so I took him home.
Back then he was tiny, with the most adorable squeak for a meow (video below) and he was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand.
He was kind of black / brown in colour with bright blue eyes (which later turned a kind of green). In the sun you could see little patterns of tiger stripes in his fur.
Why did I call him Treacle?
Mostly because of his colour:
There’s a baking product in the UK called Treacle, which makes your cakes turn dark brown, it’s kind of sticky gooey goodness a bit like syrup but with a really distinctive flavour. The dark brown/black colour matched his colouring.
Plus I had a good friend, Tracey, who we used to called Tracey treacle, and it’s my favourite flavour of Thornton’s toffee.. so that’s how he got his name.
I brought him home from Sheffield to the apartment I was living at in Nottingham.
He was a good hunter, starting off with leaves and worms, then he progressed to mice, small birds, and then he really started stepping up – once I found a live pigeon under my bed that he’d brought in, and another time there was a magpie laying dead on the floor between my bedroom and the bathroom… impressive stuff, although I had to a) try and get the pigeon out and b) constantly clean up dead things in the house he’d brought home as “gifts”.
Over the years, we lived in 4 different countries (UK, Wales, France & Portugal) and stayed in about 13 different homes. He travelled a lot of miles for a cat, and he spent his last few months from October 2019 to the end of May 2020, in the sun in Portugal. He never liked the snow, so moving to Portugal was good for both of us!
He used to sit like this while I was sewing, getting his face as near to the warmth of the lamp as possible. This photo always makes me smile.
He loved a good fuss…
He loved toasting his butt and relaxing by the fire…
His favourite brush was actually bought for me by my best friend Lizzy’s mum, Pauline. It’s a hair de-tangler, but Treacle absolutely loved having an all over body brush with it..
And sunbathing in Portugal….
Considering he was on two types of medication for the last 6 years for a heart condition, he lived a long life.
I’m glad he made it to Portugal and lived out his last few months in the sun.
But life goes on, and although the first few weeks after he died were pretty lonely, I kept thinking I’d find him curled up on my bed or on the sofa, and I missed him sharing my cereal every morning, it has gotten easier.
I have a couple of photos of Treacle around the house, my phone screensaver is him cuddling up to me on the sofa and I have this plaque my neighbour Aida made for me as a Christmas present. He’s buried in the garden under on orange Bougainvillea plant, so he won’t be forgotten.
I’ve had pets most if not all of my life, so I knew I wanted to find another furry friend to adopt to keep me company.
A friend and colleague Anne, who lives in the US, put me in touch with her good friend Tania down south here in Portugal. She works at a rescue centre on the outskirts of Lisbon, but it’s about a 7 hour round trip by car. Instead of making the trip down there, she sent me links to a handful of rescue centres around the central region.
Within 24 hours I had found two young cats who had been living feral in a warehouse, and contacted the rescue centre about re-homing them. A couple of weeks later, they came to stay.
Say hello to Isa (on the left) and Bela (on the right). They are about 4-5 months old and full of energy… Double the trouble!
Hopefully I’ll have another 15+ years to spend with these lovely girls, and just like Treacle, they are going to be spoilt rotten…….. 🙂